Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) is proud to highlight the work of this month’s partner spotlight: Thrive Home Builders!
Thrive Home Builders’ (Thrive) story began in 1992 when CEO Gene Myers created Greentree Homes, a semi-custom home building company that introduced new ways of building and bold colors in a monotonous Forest Park community in Glendale. At the company’s origin, Greentree knew the value in sustainable homes and built all new projects to Energy Star level efficiency with a promise of energy cost savings.
Greentree became New Town Builders in 1999 when a new development opportunity for an integrated housing type and mixed income community presented itself in Denver’s Commerce City neighborhood. Yet again, the company was successful in breaking the suburban mold creating communities with more green space in mixed use districts.
After several successful projects, the first ‘Zero Energy Now’ models in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver opened in 2013. Their innovative building techniques were recognized by The U.S. Department of Energy, and the builder won their first Innovation in Housing Grand Award in 2013. The company then collaborated with University of Minnesota’s Cold Climate Housing Programs and Department of Energy’s Building American Solution Center to test a new method of building that increased efficiencies in energy and labor. This new method, later improved by Thrive, not only improved the building process, but removed structural deterioration from moisture.
With their growing expertise in net zero housing, innovative building techniques, standard solar panels, and a new focus on building healthy homes, the company knew a name change was needed to fully encompass their dedication to efficient, healthy, and local home building. So, in 2015, Thrive Home Builders was born. An expert in simple marketing, Thrive promotes their homes as energy-efficient, healthier, and built by a local Denver company.
“When we think about the home of the future, we think about a home without compromise. That means cutting-edge design, the highest energy efficiency and cleaner indoor air in a home built for Coloradans, by Coloradans” says Gene Myers.
Thrive constructs homes that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program. In other words, Thrive homes produce as much energy as they consume. Not only does this improve the cost of home ownership, but it creates high-performance homes. Thrive homes are not just energy-efficient, they are healthier too.
“We also focus on improving the indoor air quality in the homes we build. All Thrive homes are Indoor airPLUS Qualified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which, in short, means they are built with clean indoor air in mind from the ground-up by reducing water intrusion, exposure to VOCs, radon, mold, and allergens.” Myers explains.
In 2017, Thrive expanded their expertise to encompass affordable housing in Stapleton. Dubbed “Element Rowhomes at Stapleton”, Thrive has built a total of 266 2-3 bedroom affordable homes within Denver’s Inclusionary Housing guidelines to date and will build another 112 homes in 2020, finishing the project with a total of 378 income qualified homes. The Element Rowhomes are high-quality and include Thrive’s trademarked double walls, solar panels, and other zero energy ready features.
“We knew that our energy efficient homes would benefit everyone, but especially those who are income restricted,” says Myers.
Thrive prides itself on being a local builder dedicated to building in local communities. For over 25 years, Thrive has partnered with neighborhood organizations within Metro Denver to assess the current needs of home buyers, and has adjusted their models accordingly. They want their customers to know they live in Denver and work in Denver and understand Colorado’s market and housing environment.
Thrive embraces a collaborative culture within the company and has a hands on approach to address pain points throughout the building process. Every member on the team attends a monthly meeting, dubbed the “Great Huddle”, where teammates proactively address problems and create nuanced solutions. Collaboration expands beyond Thrive’s business team too. They take building personally and know they aren’t just building houses, but that they’re creating homes for families to move into.
Combined with a compelling marketing team and myriad of efficient builders, Thrive continues to be a powerful presence in Colorado, and nationwide. Thrive was recognized as Builder of the Year in 2017, and has won the Grand Award for Housing Innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy seven years in a row. In fact, Thrive has built 850 Energy Star certified homes in the Denver area, and more EPA Indoor airPLUS homes in Colorado than any other builder.
“You can imagine our excitement when Thrive agreed to be a part of our Holly Park project,” ULC CEO Aaron Miripol shares. “ULC has immensely valued Thrive’s partnership and Gene Myers’ leadership. Gene has been such a great advocate of ULC’s work, in addition to being a leading voice supporting affordable housing and green building at the local, state, and federal level.”
Our most recent partnership with Thrive will result in the construction of 58 townhomes in Westminster at West 96th Ave and Federal Blvd. Two-thirds of the homes will be affordable for buyers earning 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or below. ULC’s decided to partner with Thrive given their proven expertise in building affordable, energy efficient, and beautiful homes.
“For decades, we have made the dream of owning a home a reality for hundreds of families using our energy efficient model. Through our partnership with ULC, we will develop our first affordable homes in Westminster, while creating monthly cost savings for homeowners,” says Myers.
ULC and Thrive plan to lead a community engagement process in the near future to inform local residents and stakeholders about development plans and to solicit feedback. To ensure permanent affordability for future generations, the land will be held in a 99-year community land trust in partnership with Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT).
Thrive and ULC expect to break ground and begin presales of the townhomes in early 2021 with the first occupancy expected in late 2021 or early 2022. As ULC begins to finalize its commitment to sustainability, Thrive will be a crucial partner supporting ULC’s commitment to energy efficiency and green building practices.
Congratulations Thrive on your decades of beautiful, energy efficient home building across Colorado, creating homes for individuals and families that are healthy and more affordable.
For more information, please visit Thrive’s website .